Study Break

My law exam was strange. I arrived about 15 minutes before the exam started and got shouted at for being late for the announcements! It was just like being back at school. I didn’t get to speak to anyone in my class before the exam. Probably just as well. The guy sitting in front of me had spent weeks trying to learn off 200 cases. He got his wife to ask him about these every night at dinner. I’m not sure I would have wanted to know this before the exam started – bad enough to find out about it at the end.

The paper was split into two sections – contract and tort. The contract paper wasn’t as difficult as I expected it to be but the tort paper was harder. Both of these are very large sections of law and none of my favourite torts came up in the exam. The paper only had questions on about 25% of the tort course so I assume this happened to lots of people. This is the first time that I didn’t answer any of the essay questions. Unfortunately they were rather dull and I find really hard to write essays under exam conditions unless they give me something to rant about. Instead I answered four structured problem questions. My tutor recommended that we avoid the essays as it’s easy to misunderstand the question. But I think it would be just as easy to mess up a problem question in the same way.

I’m really looking forward to a time when exams can be typed instead of written. I find it really hard to write for 3 hours. My hand goes into cramp and my already bad handwriting gets much worse.

The results aren’t out until around Christmas Eve – lucky me. Hopefully I’ll do O.K. and will discover that really the exam isn’t all about memory. Talking to various people after the exam I was concerned that they had spent too much time trying to remember cases and statutes and not enough time trying to work out what the questions were really about.

Problems with Buses

Marty and I have been taking a bus from Aalsmeer to Amsterdam each day to get to the conference. As part of the route the bus goes through the flower auction in Aalsmeer. But today, for whatever reason, the gates at the flower auction didn’t open to allow the bus to get through. The driver tried to get in touch with someone to get the gates opened but had no success at all. After about 10 minutes another bus approached that was coming out of the auction and the gate opened for it. Our driver quickly put the bus in reverse, changed lanes, and tried to drive the bus through the gap before the gates closed. He just wasn’t quick enough. When he realised that the bus wouldn’t go through the gap he jumped out and tried to use his body to stop the gate. This didn’t work either – he didn’t get crushed but he also couldn’t keep the gate open. Eventually another bus approached that was leaving the auction. This time we did get through the gates because we drove through before the other bus could.

On the way back to Aalsmeer on Monday night I got to find out how scary it is when a bus gets lost and drives down a road towards the oncomining traffic. To say nothing of what happens when a bus driver tries to reverse a large double length bus in a confined space.

I was going to write some stuff about the actual conference but I have another bus to catch.

Memory Feat

Hopefully someday law exams will change and the primary skill that is being tested won’t be memory but rather understanding.

The material I’m sent about the exam implies that the examiner is looking for understanding but the only way to get a high mark is to back up every point made by referring to a decided case. The course covers around 700 different cases. You are also expected to know the details of around 30 statutes. I wonder how many of these I will be able to remember tomorrow?

Time to buy an iPod?

I’ve started to listen to music again. After Tony installed iTunes on my computer I’ve been slowly transferring my CD collection from the racks in the living room and started to buy music again. This is causing me a problem as the only place I can listen to music is at my computer in the house. The solution seems to be an iPod. But I’m not convinced that I’ll use it. At least that’s what happened when a bought a portable CD player or a portable mini disc player. Maybe it would work if I bought a set of portable speakers. Because the problem won’t be the iPod – it will be the headphones. Who wants to try to listen to music if your headphones fall out every time you move your head? I don’t know what size ears are meant to be but apparently mine are too small.